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Stinky Stevens (Books 1-4) Review by Krystin Corneilson

By Ron Wheeler
McRuffy Press
PO Box 212
Raymore, MO 64083

Sometimes schoolwork might not look like schoolwork. Take Stinky Stevens, for example. He is the main figure in a new comic book series by the same name. How could it possibly fit into a school day? Writer and illustrator Ron Wheeler has taken a language that many children (especially elementary-age boys) are innately fluent in--comics--and has used it as a tool to teach character, humor, and faith.

Stinky and his gang of friends, including his sister Natalie, Trixie the doll, Superbear, Raggedy, Horsey, and Mr. Bunn, find themselves in all sorts of adventures with the cartoonist, the one with the power of the pencil and eraser. It's like a story within a story and is very appealing to kids.

These books could be used in a number of ways. First, they are a different genre than is usually found in school, and that in itself makes it interesting. Plus, they can show students how to use humor in their everyday writing assignments. The underlying moral and faith issues that are presented offer another application; they can be tied in to Bible and/or character study. Finally, they can be offered as a fun reward for a job well done.

On his website,, Ron Wheeler shares his testimony about his early and empty success, straying from his morality, and how God turned his life around. Now he uses his talents to glorify God. What an inspiration for my kids and me! The rest of the website offers fun for kids, including Cartoon Camp, games and puzzles, and products other than the Stinky Stevens series.

Pros: I heard my son's voice all the way through the books as I read Stinky's dialogue. It was his humor completely. I am excited that there are safe comic books about things other than superheroes that will appeal to my boys. The fact that they will actually learn real life lessons makes the books even better!

Cons: There is definitely some odor- or body function-type humor that would not appeal to all readers or parents (although the "gross" warning is clearly labeled at the beginning of the books).

I laughed right out loud at many of the adventures of Stinky, and I am not one for comic books of any kind. These books will be well used and often read in our home.

Product review by Krystin Corneilson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2011